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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Quantification and localization of expression of the retinoic acid receptor-beta and -gamma mRNA isoforms during neurulation in mouse embryos with or without spina bifida.

BACKGROUND: Previous studies observed that retinoic acid receptor-gamma (RARgamma) is expressed in the open caudal neuroepithelium but that RARbeta is expressed in the closed neural tube. Furthermore, retinoic acid (RA) induces RARbeta expression, a molecular event associated with neural tube closure, but treatment with RA at the appropriate gestation time causes failure of neural tube closure. Since there are four isoforms of RARbeta, perhaps the isoforms expressed in the closed neural tube and induced by RA are different. To investigate the hypothesis that the switch from RARgamma to RARbeta is mechanistically linked to neural tube closure, this study determined the concentrations and distributions of RARbeta and RARgamma isoforms in mouse embryos with RA- induced neural tube defects and in splotch (Sp) mutant embryos with spina bifida. METHODS: Absolute concentrations of RARbeta and RARgamma isoforms were determined throughout primary neurulation (gestational day 8.5-10.0) in treated or untreated C57BL/6J mouse whole embryos by ribonuclease protection analysis. Treatment consisted of an oral dose of 100 mg/kg of all-trans-RA on gestational day 8. 5. Spatial distributions of RARbeta and RARgamma were examined in RA-treated and Sp mutant embryos by in situ hybridization. RESULTS: RARbeta2, gamma1, and gamma2 were expressed in untreated embryos and were induced 4.5-, 1.6-, and 4.0-fold, respectively, 4 hr after treatment with RA. In embryos with RA-induced spina bifida, RARbeta2 was expressed in the closed neural tube while RARgamma1 and RARgamma2 were expressed in the open caudal neuroepithelium. In splotch mice with spina bifida, the boundary between RARbeta and RARgamma did not correspond to the site of neural tube closure. CONCLUSIONS: In RA-treated embryos, the relationship between RARbeta expression in the closed and RARgamma in the open caudal neuroepithelium was not altered. However, in splotch embryos with spina bifida, the juncture between RARbeta and RARgamma expression remained in the same anatomical position in the neuroepithelium irrespective of the neural tube closure status and suggests that the switch from RARgamma to RARbeta expression in the closing caudal neuroepithelium may not be causally linked to neural tube closure in the splotch mutant.[1]


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